Living between the weird and the wild

A picture named M2
Florida is the odd state of the USA and we certainly experience a lot of the weirdness here, living in the twilight zone between the plastic, fantastic themeparks, the palm dotted beaches and the deliverance themed countryside of the Sunshine State. We own large pets so we need some acres and we also need a pickup truck to haul feed and other stuff you need on a small animal farm. When I travel south, towards Tampa I am the Volvo driving, latte drinking, liberal (it used to be feminazi but since the Assange scandal I cannot, even, jokingly label myself feminazi anymore, I know that I should add Brie eating as well in combination with liberal, but I never eat Brie whilst driving the Volvo.) I think we are the only Volvo owners in our neighbourhood and if you want to deal with the people in the countryside, they are much more comfortable if you approach them driving your truck. So when I travel north, I use my truck mostly to buy groceries and pick up stuff for the animals. I refuse though to wear t-shirts with any cowgirl or John Deer print, cowboy boots or even worse, a cowboy hat.  

Driving in the Florida countryside is really more adventurous, fun and exciting than visiting the themeparks, however it is free so it is not advertised. Last year Pasco County put up several road signs, they love road signs in Florida, with a bicyclist and the text "Share the Road"  only after a few days the signs where perforated with bullet holes, and several avid bicyclists I know tell me horror stories on how they are pushed off the road by big trucks. The roads here around us are picturesque and bicyclists and motorcyclists alike enjoy our roads during the weekends. If you are out driving on a nice and sunny Saturday you often find yourself stuck behind a group of motorcyclists, many of them seniors and many, far to many, driving without helmets.  It is mind boggling how Florida can allow people to drive motorcycles without helmets.
The helmet law is of course different in Florida than in other states; in order to drive a motorcycle without a helmet you must be 21 years old and have at least $10 000 personal injury insurance. In 1967 the Federal Government declared that it would not offer funding to states that did not have a law regarding the use of motorcycle helmets, as a result all but a few states had implemented compulsory helmet use for bikers. In 2000, Governor Jeb Bush, little brother of George Bush, repealed the Florida helmet law, to the law we have today. In the first year since this change fatalities involving riders without helmets increased by 48.6%. Studies have shown that hospital admissions for head injuries as a result of motorcycle accidents increased with 82% and the average cost for treatment of head injuries almost doubled.
So on our beautiful roads we have helmetless, not always experienced motorcyclists "sharing the roads" with huge trucks, including mine, not always driven by the smartest people, as well as having gone through Florida's "driver's education", that, compared to the Swedish driver's ed and tests, is a joke. So, Florida drivers are not always aware of the traffic rules or how to interact with other drivers on the road. Additionally more than 5000 teens are killed each year in accidents with trucks. Driving a truck is really different from driving a car, actually in 70% of the traffic accidents involving a car and a truck, the truck driver was causing the accident, and a truck is not a good choice for a teenage driver, however, they are cheap so many, many teens drive trucks here in the countryside. Knowing that I would never, ever drive a motorcycle on Florida countryside roads, and driving without a helmet.
Additionally my daughter was taught going through driver's ed at high school here in Florida, that "be aware of the fact that many drivers here in Florida are seniors on drugs".  So that is why driving is such an adventure here, helmetless motorcycle drivers, seniors on drugs, teenagers in trucks!
Even dogs drive trucks here, at least in the county north of us, Hernando county, a man was recently run over by his own pickup truck when his dog jumped into the running truck and put in a gear. An even more absurd truck story is the truck dealer in Sanford, who offers a free AK-47 assault rifle with every purchase. So now you have truck drivers that might be dogs, seniors on drugs or uneducated teens that could be armed with AK-47s.
Better buckle up in your truck, yes they have a road sign for that.

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